Osman Kavala receives ifa Award for the Dialogue of Cultures 2022

Recognition of regime-critical and civil society engagement across borders

Stuttgart/Berlin, 14 September 2022 – Human rights activist and cultural patron Osman Kavala, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey, will be presented with this year's ifa Award for the Dialogue of Cultures. The award will be presented at a ceremony at the Allianz Forum in Berlin on 10 November 2022. Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, Member of the German Bundestag and former President of the Bundestag, will deliver the laudatory speech.

Prof. Ulrich Raulff, President of ifa and chairman of the jury comprising members from the areas of science and culture, explains their choice as follows:

The ifa Award jury firmly endorses its choice of Osman Kavala as the 2022 laureate. All over the world, human and civil rights are under threat and their defenders persecuted. In this situation, we find the courage and resistance displayed by Osman Kavala to be absolutely exemplary.

With the ifa Award for the Dialogue of Cultures, ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen recognises the contribution of individuals and institutions to fostering transcultural relations through their social, socio-political or artistic work.

Supporting the freedom of the arts, civil society and science are key elements of ifa's mission. Today, these freedoms are increasingly under threat, with nationalism, populism and authoritarian tendencies just some of the challenges they face, even in democracies. Since 2009, the ifa Award has allowed ifa to send out a clear signal in support of human rights, democracy, peace, and freedom for artists, scientists and civil society actors.

The prize money of 10,000 euros is donated by the laureate to a cultural, charitable or peace-building project or organisation of their choice. The most recent recipient of the award was Igor Levit, with previous awardees including Human Rights Watch and Yoko Ono. Additional information: www.ifa.de/ifa-preis


About the awardee
Osman Kavala, cultural patron, human rights activist and businessman, emerged as a leading player in Turkish civil society during the 1990s. In 2002, he co-founded the Anadolu Kültür Foundation, which brings together the arts, business, and civil society to support local initiatives, highlight cultural diversity, and strengthen international collaboration. He has been awarded with the European Archaeological Heritage Prize 2019, the International Hrant Dink Award 2020 and the Tonhalle Human Rights Award 2022.

Kavala has been imprisoned in Turkey since October 2017. The Turkish authorities accuse him of espionage and complicity in the military coup that failed to topple the government of July 2016. He is also accused of involvement in the protests against the planned demolition of Gezi Park in 2013. The European Court of Human Rights called for his release in December 2019. However, in April 2022 the Istanbul court sentenced Kavala to life imprisonment in solitary confinement without the possibility of parole. The judgment is not yet final.

About ifa
ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen works with its partners worldwide to advocate freedom in art, research and civil society and brings together people who are committed to an open society. To this end, it creates analogue and digital spaces for encounter, exchange, negotiation and co-creation. It gives a voice to activists, artists and scientists, promotes cooperation, and is increasingly working with European partners to pursue its aims. Building on its core competencies of art, research and civil society, ifa creates networks to achieve a lasting impact. www.ifa.de  

Press contact
ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Press & PR
Miriam Kahrmann, +49.151.26455509, presse(at)ifa.de